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Columnists: Dear Sophie

Dear Sophie,

I haven't had a raise in two years. I work hard and think I'm doing a good job. At least my boss hasn't complained about anything. With gas prices and everything else going up, I can use a bigger paycheck. I'd also like a pat on the back. How do I ask for more money without upsetting my boss? I sure can't afford to get fired.

Signed: Looking for financial rewards

Sophie Says:

You obviously think you deserve a raise. Do you think the company you work for can afford to give you one? These tough economic times are pinching businesses, too. Gather your thoughts about why your boss should consider giving you a raise, how much you think it should be, and what you'll do if you don't get it. Then make an appointment to meet privately with your boss before or after work hours. Just lay out your case and wait for a response. Whatever you do, don't threaten to leave if you don't get a raise. Unless you have another job lined up, that could send you straight to the unemployment line.

Dear Sophie,

My husband and I have been meeting with another couple every Tuesday night for almost 15 years. We trade off going to each other's homes for dinner and drinks and playing cards. Sometimes we go out for dinner and a movie. I've never liked these people. They are loud and obnoxious - always talking about money and possessions to the point of bragging.

Last week on our drive home, I finally told my husband how I feel. What a surprise to find out he doesn't like them either! While thinking we were each pleasing the other, we've been suffering separately all this time. Now what? How do we drop these losers?

Signed: Tired of boastful non-friends

Sophie Says:

Wow! This is a good example of two people in a marriage suffering because of a failure to communicate. It will take either a great deal of finesse or a large dose of bluntness to extricate yourselves from this long-standing routine. Have you considered moving? Some honesty, combined with tapering off, may be best in this situation. Consider telling your friends your interests have changed over time and you'd like to change your routine to once a month. Be certain to find some of those new interests to talk about when you get together. If this doesn't work, just tell them you've realized you can't keep up with their material standards and are uncomfortable hearing them talk about what they have that you don't.


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